Qantas has confirmed it will resume selected international flights from November 1, two weeks ahead of previous plans.
The carrier said that the move followed the decision by Federal and New South Wales governments to open borders from the start of next month.
Qantas will now operate up to five return flights a week from Sydney to London and up to four return flights a week from Sydney to Los Angeles from November 1, using its B787 Dreamliner aircraft. The airline said that “more flights will be added to meet demand, if needed”.
Initially these flights will be limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents in line with Australian Government requirements.
Services to other international destinations including Singapore, Fiji and Vancouver are still scheduled to resume in mid-December, although Qantas said that “, in light of the shift to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers arriving in New South Wales, the Qantas Group is looking at bringing forward some additional destinations from Sydney if possible”.
Earlier this month the carrier confirmed plans to launch nonstop flights between Darwin and London next month, following an agreement reached with the Northern Territory Government and Darwin airport.
The switching of the carrier’s flagship nonstop flights between Perth and London to depart from Darwin is designed as a temporary move, with the carrier citing “conservative border policies in Western Australia”.
Commenting on the news Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said:
“Bringing forward the reopening of Australia to the world and removing quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers entering New South Wales is a massive step towards life as we knew it.
“In just a little over two weeks, Australians around the world can fly into Sydney and people from around Australia can leave on trips they’ve been waiting almost two years to take. We hope other states will do the same once they reach the 80 per cent target.
“We have thousands of our pilots and cabin crew wanting to get back to work and they will be thrilled at today’s announcement. It will still be a long time before international travel returns to normal but this is a fantastic start.
“Removing quarantine for the fully vaccinated is a sensible approach and brings New South Wales into line with many other global cities.
“I want to thank the Prime Minister and Premier Perrottet for the leadership they have shown in getting borders reopened again, which is only possible because so many Australians have rolled up their sleeves in record time.”